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8 ways you can take better care of your body this winter

Are you getting ready to start enjoying the winter wonderland and ski trails? How do you keep your body functioning well during the winter months? Do you want to be able to ski without injuries throughout the season and then return to running and hiking safely again in the spring? In this blog, I’ll share 8 ways you can take better care of your body this winter. 

The shoulders, upper and lower back and the feet/Achilles tendon are areas that take a beating throughout the winter. Mobility is important for optimal function and performance.

Below are my tried and true PT tips to address common areas of overload and tightness during the winter months.

Remember: These are just tips, not a medical advice. If any of these exercises are painful, stop. Contact your physical therapist who can assess the situation and suggest modifications

1.) Thoracic rotation while lying on side

  • Press your ‘top’ knee down on a foam roller or a pillow
    • Reach with your opposite hand towards the ceiling
    • Hold for 3 breaths

2.) Shoulders and thoracic mobility – modified child’s pose

  • Each side, hold 20 seconds

3.) Quadriceps stretch – focus on rectus femoris

  • ‘Bottom’ knee should be past your body line (use a towel around your foot if it is too difficult)
  • Hold 20 seconds on each side

4.) Piriformis stretch

  • Perform either one – you will find one that works for your body
  • Hold 20 seconds on each side

5.) Calf stretch

  • Knee straight (gastrocnemius), and knee flexed (soleus)
  • Feet pointing forward
  • Hold 20 seconds each

5.) Calf stretch

  • Knee straight (gastrocnemius), and knee flexed (soleus)
  • Feet pointing forward
  • Hold 20 seconds each

6.) Foot strength – shuffle walk

  • 3 parts:  lift toes, ‘shuffle’ your foot forward, put toes down
  • Forward and backwards, 20 steps

7.) Plantar fascia stretch

  • hold 10 seconds
  • modify with a foam roll or a pillow as needed

8.) Schedule a Rolfing/ Sports Massage

  • A few Rolfing/Sports Massage sessions can help increase mobility and help you feel better on and off the mountains and trails! This type of manual therapy works on the fascia that connects your entire body. So, working in one area can help another part feel better, and get you back to what you love quicker!

Several things to remember:

  • If it is painful, don’t do it!
  • If it is difficult to do, ease into it slowly throughout a period of 2 weeks.
  • Stretch AFTER your hard workout or race (it can decrease performance if done before).
  • If something feels off, or if you have questions about what you are feeling in your body, give us a call. Our team is the best in town when it comes to Sports Physical Therapy and Rolfing/Sports Massage! You can even schedule a FREE discovery visit HERE with one of our specialists today!

Written By:
Zuzana Rogers, PT, ScD, SCS, COMT

Runners’ Edge Clinical Director & USA Ski Team Physical Therapist 

AUTHOR

Runners' Edge Alaska

"We Empower Active Alaskans Of All Ages To Return To The Activities They Love Safely And Efficiently…For Life"
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